Here at Capital Spice, we’re not just about the high-end, multi-course tasting menus and the meticulously handcrafted cocktails.  Sometimes we just like to relax and enjoy a casual date night, grabbing a bite to eat and seeing a show without breaking the bank.

We’ve got a few favorites that take it a step further, offering dinner and a show in the same location.  Last month, we tipped you off to the Moroccan adventure (complete with a belly dancing performance) to be had at Marrakesh.  We’ve also enjoyed our share of brunches that feature everything from jazz trios to drag queens, but that’s a subject for another time.

Today we’re focused on some of the places that always make us smile.  These venues offer up quality entertainment and some darn good food, all without breaking the bank.  And they all make great spots for low-key dates.

DC Improv
Improv LogoIt’s a testament to the DC Improv’s reputation among comedians that it attracts bonafide celebrities like Kathy Griffin, John Oliver and Kevin Pollack to perform multi-night standup sets when there are theaters and other larger venues that they could just as easily be selling out.  Those of us in the audience certainly aren’t complaining.

CaltortThe Improv offers an intimate setting that puts you mere feet from the stage and its classic red brick backdrop.  But do yourself a favor and arrive a bit early for the show.  For one thing, seating is first come, first served.  But the real reason to show up early is to give yourself a chance to take advantage of the Improv’s second biggest selling point (after the talent): California Tortilla!

Call it synergy or a shared co-owner.  Either way, the audience benefits.  When I first started visiting the Improv years ago, it was a safe bet that the two item minimum would be exclusively met through beverages…the food was an afterthought.  But the addition of California Tortilla favorites like the Blackened Chicken Caesar and the Crunchy BBQ Ranch make the Improv a doubly-guilty pleasure…and a great place to get dinner and a show at the same time.

DC Improv
1140 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC
DC Improv on Urbanspoon

Dinner in a movie theater and dinner-as-theater after the jump. (more…)

A snapshot of what’s going on with food in the news…

Around town…
Spending a Sunday afternoon getting lunch and a movie at the Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse is a favorite activity. Looks like our Maryland neighbors will have the opportunity to do the same with the new Montgomery Drafthouse. We can’t wait to try out the adorable sounding Locke Modern Country Store, especially if their pear, goat cheese and leek tart is available.

Big food… 
Have you tried the oatmeal at Starbucks? It’s their most successful food launch in the company’s history. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you know Pez. If you’re especially cool, you may have even had a Pez dispenser collection. Make a little room on the shelf: Chick-Fil-A is teaming up with Pez for an Eat Mor Chikin Pez dispenser. Krispy Kreme is testing new factory stores in Arizona to deliver their donuts to “neighborhood donut shops.” After the jump, news from food on the road and how the economy is taking a toll on dining. (more…)